Even as you continue to search for products and prepare for price hikes, it's important to think about longer-term issues, too. For instance: Whether your store's look could use a refresh, particularly if you suspect a better design could boost sales. To that end, check out the new store concepts unveiled to Do it Best members at its fall market. The changes, include a wider central "Power Aisle," specially demarcated store departments, and end caps with vignettes that inspire the customer, not just promote something on sale. For instance, a recessed end cap on a garden section might have images promoting the idea of filling a pot with new plants. There also are design ideas for special departments, just as Do it Best's Color Bar several years ago made the paint department an easily identifiable go-to area. "The next generation of customers want a story behind their purchases," Cherie Jacobs, Do it Best's store development manager, said in an interview. "It's more about creating an unexpected experience. ... By creating these departments, you're stopping them in their tracks to think about you." Some changes are overt, such as the use of icons and grid-like ceiling "clouds" to guide the shopper through the store. Others are subtle: The Do it Best logo is a bit squarer and now has rounded corners, echoing the look of apps icons on a smartphone.
Sight lines matter more. "In the past, we may have recommended putting more product into center spaces," Jacobs said. "[Now] we're encouraging them to open up the Power Aisle so the customer doesn't feel claustrophobic." Outside, the red color that used to dominate the building now has been reduced to an awning; gray is now the primary color while red provides a vivid slash. (Gray also is the color for most interior fixtures, while pegboards are a khaki color, and service offerings are in yellow.) Large icons on the exterior wall makes it easy for drivers to see major product categories offered. A list of those same categories also is featured at pedestrian level near the front entrance, reminding people walking in about what's inside. This YouTube video of how the redesign transformed Vassar (MI) Building Center will show more. The owner says he used to know eight out of every 10 customers who walked in to his old, lumber-centric store. Now so many new customers have arrived that he now knows just three out of 10.